Saturday, November 01, 2014
|Centre left Villa, to his right Zapata|
When as a conscript
sailor you find yourself, part of a contingent of troops surrounding the
of Buenos Aires, la Casa
Rosada, and through a loudspeaker you give an ultimatum to the freely elected President
of Argentina to leave within 60 minutes or accept the consequences, the idea of
participating in a democracy becomes a sham of sorts. Funnier still when you
note that the gentle and very honest country doctor, Doctor Arturo Illía went
home in a cab.
This happened to me and
what was worse is that on June 20 of the previous year I, and thousands more
conscript sailors, had sworn allegiance to our flag, constitution and the
But for many years in Latin America many thought that the chaos of inefficient and
dishonest government could be checked with the “order” of a military coup. Many
of us for years have stated that when a general has gotten all the stars
available the next rank is president of the nation. Two notable exceptions (
sort of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus kind of men) were Emiliano Zapata and
Pancho Villa who after being photographed on the Mexican chair of presidency
got up and left town.
There are rumours now
that with the crisis of the disappearance of the students who were studying to
be teachers in the state of Guerrero, that many are clamouring for a military order.
I remember reading in
Time Magazine a column which was illustrated by a black limousine in front of
the entrance to the White House. The photograph had a cut-line which said
something like, “Criminal lawyer’s car, on the front steps of the White House
there to defend President Richard Nixon”. While we Latin Americans had long
known that only the worst of people would seek political office and that they
were sure to rob the treasury, it was amazing the shock that affected so many, perhaps
naïve, Americans that their president was a crook.
When Rosemary, our two
Mexican-born daughters and I moved to Vancouver
in 1975 it was a relief not to be afraid of policemen and to know that
bureaucracy was minimal. Few in my Argentine side of the family believe that I
can replace a lost driver’s license in less than two weeks and after a very
short queue. Even fewer believe when I tell them that until most recently our Vancouver politicians
drove around without escort.
In my years as a Vancouver magazine photographer
I have met and photographed many local, provincial and federal politicians. Just
a few have impressed me with intelligence and honesty.
I remember vividly
when architect Ned Pratt and I walked my neighbourhood in an effort to
understand the demolition of so many houses that were replaced by gigantic version
of wedding cakes. He told me, “I have been going trough long paper-work to get
a permit to fix my garage in my Shaughnessy home but these developers must have
a direct line to City Hall. I believed him then and as I note what is happening
in our Vancouver
now I understand Pratt’s perspicacity, one that came from years of having dealt
with many at City Hall.
While many of my
contemporaries might disagree I had a fondness for the likes of Harry Rankin,
Art Phillips, Carole Taylor, Carole James, Jack Munro and few others. I liked
both Sam Sullivan and the now Senator Larry
Campbell. But have my ultimate appreciation of their intelligence and honesty
to former MP Dawn Black and BC Premier Mike Harcourt.
As I note the
political upheavals in relation to homelessness and our city’s purported
authorities in bed with developers I have come to the conclusion that none of
the mayoral candidates are to my liking. I am not going to vote for the “menos
malo”. I will vote for counsellors and I know I will vote for one for sure
(every city needs a rabble-rouser) and that is COPE’s Tim Louis. He is no
Rankin but close enough for me.
An interesting postcript to the above is that in the early 70s when I was teaching in the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Doctor Illía came to lecture. I told him of my small role in his political end. He smiled at me and said, "You were just obeying orders." Not said was how just a few years later, many in our Argentine military obeyed orders and sent thousands to be disappeared.
No Eggs! No Eggs!
Friday, October 31, 2014
And she bare him a
son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a
I had a mentor friend
in Mexico City who
died in his 80s a year ago. Raúl Guerrero Montemayor 9 years after I met him
was a witness to my wedding in 1968 to my Rosemary in Coyoacán, Mexico.
Raúl spoke at least 8 languages and he could do stuff like speaking Spanish
with a Filipino or Yiddish. He was supposed to be of Filipino origin but he was
blonde, with blue eyes and always pointed out to us that he was first cousin to
actress Yvette Mimieux.
If you had asked, as I
did many times, what nationality he claimed to be of he would answer in
Spanish, “Soy híbrido.” Somehow that does not translate to English as, “I am a
hybrid.” as I think of some exotic variant of a species plant. In many respects
I understood Raúl’s definition of what he was in a Borgesian term, “I am all of
them but none of them.”
Yesterday I read
Borges’s short story Biografía de Tadeo Isidoro Cruz . Unless you are an
Argentine who has read José Hernández’s Martín Fierro (one of the quite a few
Argentine novels, actually an epic poem that defined the nation) the story
would be close to meaningless. Feeling alone in my bed (even though Rosemary
was next to me with her NY Times) I felt Argentine but in the isolation of
knowing that unless I skyped someone in Buenos
Aires, my experience in reading this story was one
that I could not share. I felt a stranger in this strange land that is Canada and from the vantage point of Vancouver.
Much in our thoughts
as we prepare our garden for the winter is wondering how many of these fall
cleanups are meant to be. Will this be the last one? I will not deny that as
our bank funds dissolve to nothing the great value of our house is a constant
reminder that we could soon be living in a small shelter where all the
bathrooms (two?) would work and the tub would not leak and the kitchen would
not have a white Ikea floor, and the furnace would be efficient, and mice would
not invade our basement in the fall to die and stink up my darkroom, and the
wooden floors (the nice wooden floors would not longer worry us about their
fading), and we would not fear as to what tree might fall on our house in that
night windstorm, or about getting Casi-Casi inside before 9pm because of the marauding
coyotes or racoons…
But we would not live
in White Rock. It would be too far for us to consider going to a concert, or
ballet or theatre; our grandchildren would be far away in Vancouver and that tunnel and traffic would
be an obstacle. Would we end up playing bridge with people our age and discussing "doing" Machu Picchu? North Van would make us say,” I cannot do this or that until
the lanes change.” Perhaps Burnaby (our return to
Burnaby) would involve a Lougheed Highway or an East
Hastings that would be trifle less congested than the freeway to
Coquitlam and points beyond.
the warmth of Mexico
could beckon. One of the nicest spots on earth is the city of Mérida, Yucatán which has fewer Americans
(that’s good!) than San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato. But Mérida would not
provide us with a daily delivered NY Times, and a ready supply of constant 110
voltage. Then there are those hurricanes. And I wonder how we would manage to get
our monthly supply of pills that keep both of us this side of 70 even though we
are that side of it. And the political instability of Mexico would be
a constant worry as being away from the presence of our daughters and granddaughter.
Would Casi-Casi and Plata (our two cats) navigate in a strange land?
But most of all there
is that concern that we would no longer have an efficient (in fact superb)
public library that would enable us to take books and DVDs home (imagine that!).
For better or for
worse (for better I am almost sure) this strange land of cyan/gray skies, a
land where people seem to eschew the telephone and face to face meetings in
cafés is a place in which I feel too comfortable to ever leave. I may not
belong to it until I am finally resting in some small plot of land or in a
little urn in a niche.
And this was not more
evident than last night. Thanks to $3.00 RCA cables from my nearby Kerrisdale
Dollar Store and the retrieval of my VHS machine from our basement we were able
to watch Otto Preminger’s, 1957 Saint Joan with Jean Seberg, Richard Widmark,
John Gielgud and the very sweet Irish actor Richard Todd (A scheduling conflict prevented him from being James Bond in Dr. No). That Saint Joan, the film, is based
on the play by George Bernard Shaw and has a screenplay by Graham Greene is icing on
a very rich cake. What could be a better provider of instant satisfaction after
seeing Meg Roe in the Arts Club Theatre’s production of Saint Joan than this
film? We were able to compare notes and know at any moment what the lines would
be. And I must point out that Limelight Video's VHS copy of Saint Joan is the only game in town.
It is this instant
satisfaction (well with just a bit of old fashioned ingenuity as I had to connect the VHS machine to our only TV set, a now ancient Sony Trinitron) that makes us
want to stay put. And stay put we will until circumstances force a change. And for as long as things keep working efficiently in the city of cyan skies.
The Metamorphosis of Death & Kissed
Thursday, October 30, 2014
In the early 50s after
my family had moved to Mexico City I was sent to the
American School in Tacubaya, a poor section of the city where enterprising entrepreneurs
had built the huge elementary and high school on cheap land. I was picked up by
the orange Colegio Americano bus. We lived in a semi-posh area called Las Lomas
de Chapultepec on a street called Sierra Madre. On the way to the school the
bus passed by the wall of a huge cemetery called Panteón Dolores. I have to admit here with
disappointment that I was never curious enough to explore it from the inside. I
can remember the moss growing on the walls and the sphagnum moss hanging from
the trees in the cemetery. Here and there from my window I could spy angels and
crosses. Alas in all my subsequent trips to Mexico I have never remembered to
go and take pictures.
As beautiful as Vancouver is it is poor in interesting
cemeteries. The policy in those after-life establishments is to manicure the
lawns with a ride-on lawnmower. Large memorials are thus frowned on. But the
cemetery on 41st Avenue
did serve me well once.
In 1997 I went to see
a Lynne Stopkewich film, Kissed based on Barbara Gowdy’s We So Seldom Look On
Love with the then Globe & Mail arts critic, Christopher Dafoe. In the film
the little girl (before she becomes the luminous Molly Parker) buries little
dead animals in her garden. She uses a blue box, the ones in which Birks jewellery
stores wrap their gifts. Because Stopkewich had a smallish budget she could not
pay for permission to use the box in her film with the Birks logo showings. Instead
she herself drew on paper a flower and stuck it on the box. As soon as I saw
the little girl burying the little birds and squirrels with lots of ceremony I
knew how I was going to illustrate the article that Dafoe was going to write.
I photographed both
Stopkewich and Parker in their hotel room. Stopkewich drew a flower on paper
for me. When I photographed Parker, she became for me the only other woman,
besides Charlotte Rampling I would readily dump my Rosemary for.
In the series of
pictures here you will see the metamorphosis of the shot. I am including a
colour one as in the Metropolitan Edition (Toronto) of the Globe & Mail they ran the
colour version. For the photograph I used a Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD with a 140mm
Macro Floating Element lens. The b+w film was Ilford FP-4 Plus and the colour
slide film was Ektachrome 100 SW.
Meg Roe Laughs
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Last night, my
Rosemary and I went to the Arts Club Theatre Company opening night presentation of George
Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan, directed by Kim Collier. It was held at the Stanley
Industrial Alliance Theatre. I went prepared for a sombre evening. Somehow it wasn't.
Often memory fails me.
I see it as a red carpet behind me that is rolled up as the section in front is
rolled out. I have little memory
of the two St. Joan films I have seen in my distant past. One was the 1957 film St. Joan
with Jean Seberg directed by Otto
Preminger with screenplay by Graham Greene, John Gielgud as the Earl of Warwick,
Felix Aylmer as the Inquisitor and Richard Widmark (I wish I could remember
that performance!) as the Dauphin, Charles VII. The other was director Victor
Fleming’s 1948 Joan of Arc with Ingrid Bergman. Only the Preminger version was
based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1924 play.
In both of those films
the two St. Joan protagonists had infamy/fame
as accompany baggage which clouded for many the initial perception of the films. Of
the latter film, the one with Ingrid Bergman, noted and now retired theatrical
critic Christopher Dafoe (there he was (!), on opening night with his son Christopher,
former arts critic for the Globe & Mail and now a busy lawyer) told me that in a
recent viewing he thought it was more awful than before. On anything about the
Arts Club/Kim Collier St. Joan he kept his cards close to his chest which he accompanied
with a delightful and most pleasant smile.
I could cite the
excellent performances by Dean Paul Gibson as the Earl of Warwick, of Scott
Bellis as the English leaning French cleric, Bishop Cauchon (Costume Designer Christine Reimer, plagued with her actors weating bad theatrical armour, designed a beautiful red bishop's outfit that was spectacular)
and Tom McBeath as
the Enquisitor. I do.
I was particularly
surprised that in the whole play nobody stood out as an out and out villain. It
seemed that events simply happened in a sort of momentum of history. In his
preface to the play GBS (he was that many years before John F. Kennedy was JFK)
There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like
disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general
consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best,
with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and
will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.
His best known
biographer Michael Holroyd wrote:
“St. Joan is a tragedy
without villains and it is Shaw’s only tragedy.”
Interesting to me is the fact that while the
Dauphin was crowned on 17 July, 1429, King of France (Charles VII) at Reims (thanks to Joan), on 16 December, 1429, Henry VI of England, was
crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris. It also seems that Henry VI may have been
present to some of the sittings of Joan’s trial.
Aside from all the fascinating stories
behind Shaw’s play I managed to have a short chat with Christopher Gaze,
Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach, who having been Shakespeare’s Henry V many
times, happens to know more than a little about the Hundred Year’s War (It was
Henry V who won at Agincourt before the advent of Joan when things began to
sour for the les goddams English). He asked me about the play and I told him, “Your
man and that second act were the best.” I did not have to explain that “his man”
was Dean Paul Gibson. Gaze called the part of the second act (our mutual favourite) in which you have
the Earl of Warwick (Gibson), Bishop Cauchon (Bellis) and Chaplain DeStogumber
discussing Joan at a banquet table “the tent scene.” It is here where Shaw
mentions subjects with linked together in importance in our 21st century,
Christianity, “Mohammedanism”, Protestantism and nationalism. The second part
of Act II is where things begin to go against Roe's Joan.
Since I am not a theatre critic I cannot
begin to write opinions here that are beyond my basic expertise of clicking shutters.
But since I am not a theatre critic I can venture into other areas without
having to delve in that journalistic rule of when, where and how.
Sometime in the 80s I listened in my car to
a recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (the one with that most
impossible part for a clarino trumpet). I had to stop the car to see what was
wrong with my tape deck. The concerto directed by Pablo Casals was much too
fast. Nothing was wrong. It was just a startlingly new approach to the music by
Casals. I soon got used to it. Now most other recordings or the many live performances
have attended have all seemed agonizingly slow.
With the performance of Jean Seberg as Joan
somewhere in my hidden neurons I was completely taken off guard by Meg Roe’s
take on Joan in the first act. She laughed, she giggled and she did more
laughing and more giggling. I was taken aback. Was this in Shaw’s script
(perhaps in pencil, laugh, giggle, laugh)? Was this a crazed conspiracy between the
one female actor Roe (there were two female singers in the play, Christine Quintana
and Shannon Chan-Kent) and the female director Kim Collier?
I thought about this and immediately went
back to the memory of the relationship that actress Molly Parker had with
director Lynne Stopkewich in Kissed, 1996, and Suspicious River, 2000, films,
intense films, that were made possible, I believe, only because of that special relationship that
only two women can have as I wrote here?
Gaze told me that Collier instructed Dean
Paul Gibson to speak with a marked English accent (I liked that!). Did Collier
tell Roe to laugh and giggle?
After the shock of that first act
reinforced by the several occasions in which Rowe (not a tall woman) stood next
to Captain Robert de Baudricourt played by Bob Frazer, a tall man, which made the
result one that almost made me giggle, I realized I was watching something akin
to Casal’s Brandenburg. This was a performance that was going to grow on me with time. This was another Roe Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? ,The Penelopiad , Toronto, Mississippi kind of performance.
By the third act Roe came back to familiar
territory and was the actress I have been used to savouring. Roe was
devastating as the suffering Joan about to be burned at the stake.
In the middle of the night after I had
returned home it dawned on me that as a frequent theatre goer I can assert here
that if there is any play in which Meg Roe is in the cast that is enough
justification to go and see it. And one must trust, as I now trust, her
judgment on how she will interpret her part. It comes from someone who exceeds
the high standards that our city imposes on its actors.
There is a word for this in Spanish. We
call such people fenómenos. I have
used it to describe the dancing of Evelyn Hart. We have Evelyn Hart. We have
Meg Roe. We are so lucky.
Indeed Jean Seberg as St. Joan smiles and laughs, too.
Addendum: Sometimes my Rosemary has trouble hearing an actor who speaks away from where we might be sitting. The Stanley has had a problem here for us for some time. I am happy to report that she tried the special sound enhancing earphones, available (at the coat check), and that they were a success.
David Pay's PEP Rally For New Music
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
|Nicole Li - October 27 2014|
Fortunately I do not
believe in a local cultural conspiracy theory that would suggest that at any
concert presentation of New Music, be it the Turning Point Ensemble or David
Pay's ambitious and edgy Modulus Festival (from October 23 to 29) a would-be a cultural terrorist could be out terminate with extreme prejudice all the
contemporary composers of our city. That would be easy since at these events
many of those composers are present.
Our would-be cultural
terrorist would be one who would have reverse views to Gavrilo Princip who in
his assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie,
Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, wanted to destroy the old
order. Our would-be Vancouver
cultural terrorist would be wanting to do the opposite which is to leave our
music scene as it is or was recently. And that would be a music scene that would remain boring and tried.
Five of those
composers (noted in the program of PEP or Piano and Erhu Project) with Corey
Hamm on piano and Nicole Li on erhu were present last night. These were Edward
Top, Jocelyn Morlock, Jared Miller, Dorothy Chang and Keith Hamel. Without
looking too far I noticed two more, John Oliver and Owen Underhill.
A smart bomb
consisting of a loud recording of any Tchaikovsky symphony with some extras
like any song by Neil Diamond and a Vivaldi Four Seasons would, in one fell sweep, terminate our
new music composers.
Last night I was not
there to listen to predictable music. This would have been impossible to begin
with as al five compositions on the program were world premieres. Pianist Cory Hamm and Erhudist (is that correct?) Nicole Li decided together a couple of years ago that our city was ripe for musical melding of cultures. Judging by this amateur's reaction last night to PEP, it was a felicitous success. I cannot wait for a possible composition my Mark Armanini for Erhu and Cello (Nicole Li and Marina Hasselberg).
Listening to all five
of the brand-new compositions I noted three things. The most “Chinese sounding”, an appraisal by this
musical amateur was Edward Top’s Lamentation. Edward Top was the VSO’s Composer
in Residence last year. This year’s VSO Composer in Residence, Jocelyn Morlock,
was the least “Chinese sounding”. 'Her Vespertine - II Verdegris was lyrical and after just a few seconds
of listening to it, Li’s Erhu sounded very much like the bowed string
instrument that it is.
Dorothy Chang’s Four
Short Poems of Fancy were whimsical and funny at times. The fourth movement, green sheep tango, was indeed a tango to this Argentine. Keith Hamel’s Homage to
Liu Wenjin (a recently departed Chinese composer) shifted between soft him to
soft Hamel. It was satisfying, respectful and if you happened to have seen
Hamel in the audience and noticed his soft smile you would have known why. He
is a gentle man who plays the lute. I first met up with Hamel’s music here.
It was Jared Miller
(born in 1988 which makes him three years younger than Nicole Li whose work, Captive,
with lots of complex banging on the piano and bowing on the Erhu that made me
sit up. I could have been listening to a meeting between Thelonius Monk and
Eric Dolphy. It felt primal and like the other four pieces I can quote Liz
Hamel (singer, recorder player and partner to Keith Hamel) “This was one
concert that was much too short.” I could have stayed for more.
In my musical
ignorance I can imagine Bach on a keyboard, plunking tentative notes while his
wife notes them down. I can imagine Beethoven sitting at the piano composing a
bagatelle and being flummoxed by having to imagine the sounds. In both cases
the composers were experts in knowing the capabilities of the instruments being
composed for. There is no record of Adolphe
Sax (he would have been 13 when Beethoven died) asking the master “Would you be
willing to compose something for my new instrument?”
How did these five
composers write the music for Hamm
and Li? One answer was forthcoming and immediate from Morlock who told me that
her Vespertine II Verdegris had been composed 11 years before for piano and
harp. I can only guess that Hamm,
Li and Morlock got together one day and adapted it. Of Top's "Chinese sounding" composition, she said, "He probably wanted to make it so."
It was Jared Miller’s
piece that led me to think that the act of composition of anything for a brand
new instrument (in this case the erhu, pronounced R-who, an instrument known in
for a millennium) must entail intimate knowledge of the instrument. I can
imagine Miller showing up a Li’s house and saying, “Show me what you can do
with that.” I wonder if there are any
places in Miller’s composition where Li might have needed to learn a new
All in all the evening
was one of big surprises in small packages in which the warm demeanor of Cory
Hamm’s face while he played made me think that had he been the principal at a
school I would not have been afraid to be sent to his office. It made the music, startling at times, much more reachable to me.
As for Nicole Li, a
very different young girl from the one I photographed with cellist Marina
Hasselberg for the Georgia Straight, I was amazed. In the photo session she was
a younger girl (I could swear she was wearing pigtails even if she wasn’t). At
the concert, long hair down, she was the Oriental femme fatale, an authentic
one that would have been played in the 50s in Hollywood by Gene Tierney. Li was wearing a
very tight long, black dress with a slit (a very long slit) on the left side. Her
shoes were beautiful, just right, and her bright red lipstick was reminiscent of
the Jazz, Red, Hot & Cool by Revlon worn by model on Dave Brubeck Quartet Cover by Richard
Nicole Li playing her
erhu was grown up, determined and playing her instrument (difficult not to note
here that she has lovely hands with long fingers) with an assurance of one who
has been at it for a long time. I have always been amazed at the sound and complexity that can come out of that four-stringed instrument, the violin. It is thus amzing the Li's erhu has only two.
It was most pleasant
to observe that in dressing up Li showed how important this debut was (including
the release of a CD with two more to come) and that those New Music Composers
and Corey Hamm himself (who did wear a suit) might have followed Li's elegant cue.
What is new music?
Addendum: As I stood with my ticket waiting to get into the concert hall of the Roundhouse I was hit by a nostalgic wave from my built-in GPS. I realized that on the very spot where I was standing, there were remnants of the tracks used by locomotives, in a not so distant past, as they were pushed to the outside where they were turned around as their bottom innards were inspected for repairs. It was in that spot where in the late 80s I was dispatched by Canadian Pacific Limited (I worked for them on contract) to photograph the Royal Hudson which was being repaired at what at the time was called the Drake Street Yard. While the memory makes me feel older it also makes me marvel at some of the marvelous opportunities that my camera was a passport for.
A Small Window Of Opportunity
Monday, October 27, 2014
|Rebecca Anne Stewart, 17, October 26 2014|
On October 26 Rebecca
asked me to photograph her. I took advantage of the small window of opportunity.
I was able to shoot two Fuji
3200 ISO instant film prints and a few, exactly 10, with my Fuji X-E1 before my
session was terminated.
Pray Gather Me, Anemone!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
|Anemone hupihensis October 24 2014|
A bout of insomnia
this Friday night (but now early Saturday morning ) has me at my computer
writing a blog about yesterday (Friday) and the flowers I found in the garden
so that I can post it today Saturday for Sunday’s blog tomorrow.
I did not know that I
have been pushing a self-propelled lawn mower (new last spring) for months not
knowing that the belt connecting the motor to the wheels had come off. When I
had to mow the long boulevard (it is at an incline) I was huffing and puffing
it. After a few minutes I would go inside and have a glass of orange juice and
waiting for my heart to slow down and for my lungs to fill with air. Today I
discovered the loose pulley and suddenly mowing the lawn (and using it as a
vacuum to suck up all the debris that came down in the windstorm a few days
ago) was not so much of a chore. But it still took me four hours so exhaustion
might be the reason for the insomnia.
Two plants showed off
today. One was the lowly (in some quarters but not in mine) Anemone hupihensis
which does flower in late summer. The other was a startling light yellow
English Rose called Rosa ‘Crocus Rose’. I
could not resist sniffing it. Sniffing a wonderfully fragrant rose at this time
of the year is a pleasure that rarely happens in my shady garden. Of the anemone
I did not think anybody of note might have written a poem about it. I was
(1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part Three: Love
SUMMER for thee grant
I may be
When summer days are flown!
Thy music still when
And oriole are done!
For thee to bloom, I’ll
skip the tomb 5
And sow my blossoms o’er!
Pray gather me,
Thy flower forevermore!
And of course I have
known for years that Jorge Luís Borges wrote a very short story featuring a yellow
rose (the English version follows the Spanish one):
|Rosa Çrocus Rose' October 24 2014|
tarde ni la otra murió el ilustre Giambattista Marino, que las bocas unánimes
de la Fama (para usar la imagen que le fue cara) proclamaron el nuevo Homero y
el nuevo Dante, pero el hecho inmóvil y silencioso que entonces ocurrió fue en
verdad el último de su vida. Colmado de años y de gloria, el hombre moría en un
vasto lecho español de columnas labradas. Nada cuesta imaginar a unos pasos un
sereno balcón que mira al poniente y, más abajo, mármoles y laureles y un
jardín que duplica sus graderías en una agua rectangular. Una mujer ha puesto
en una copa una rosa amarilla; el hombre murmura los versos inevitables que a
él mismo, para hablar con sinceridad, ya lo hastían un poco:
jardín, pompa del prado, gema de primavera,
ocurrió la revelación. Marino vio la rosa, como Adán pudo verla en el Paraíso,
y sintió que ella estaba en su eternidad y no en sus palabras y que podemos
mencionar o aludir pero no expresar y que los altos y soberbios volúmenes que
formaban un ángulo de la sala una penumbra de oro no eran (como en vanidad
soñó) un espejo del mundo, sino una cosa más agregada al mundo.
iluminación alcanzó Marino en la víspera de su muerte, y Homero y Dante acaso
la alcanzaron también.
Luis Jorge. El hacedor. Ed. Debolsillo. 1ra edición en México en agosto del
A Yellow Rose
J. L. Borges
Neither that afternoon
nor the next did the illustrious Giambattista Marino die, he whom the unanimous
mouths of Fame — to use an image dear to him — proclaimed as the new Homer and
the new Dante. But still, the noiseless fact that took place then was in
reality the last event of his life. Laden with years and with glory, he lay
dying in a huge Spanish bed with carved bedposts. It is not hard to imagine a
serene balcony a few steps away, facing the west, and, below, marble and
laurels and a garden whose various levels are duplicated in a rectangle of
water. A woman has placed in a goblet a yellow rose. The man murmurs the
inevitable lines that now, to tell the truth, bore even him a little:
Purple of the garden,
pomp of the meadow,
Gem of the spring,
April’s eye . . .
Then the revelation
occured: Marino saw the rose as Adam might have seen it in Paradise, and he
thought that the rose was to be found in its own eternity and not in his words;
and that we may mention or allude to a thing, but not express it; and that the
tall, proud volumes casting a golden shadow in a corner were not — as his
vanity had dreamed — a mirror of the world, but rather one thing more added to
Marino achieved this
illumination on the eve of his death, and Homer and Dante may have achieved it
[From Dreamtigers, by
Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Mildred Boyer]